Sunday, September 9, 2007

HAVE YOU SEEN A SLOW LORIS?



Seen a slow loris? Please contact Fam Shu Deng asap at 92215549 or u0402422@nus.edu.sg

What is a Slow Loris?

The Greater Slow Loris (Nycticebus coucang) is among Asia's least studied primates. They are small, arboreal, nocturnal and inconspicuous. They are known to inhabit primary rainforests, which is present is small patches around Singapore, or logged over secondary forests with canopy corridors, which is not present in Singapore. As such, its habitat areas are severely restricted.

At the 2007 Conference of the Parties of CITES in The Hague, CITES member nations unanimously decided to push Nycticebus to Appendix I, an action that the member nations were compelled to carry out, to protect the species from extinction. As they look very cute to most people, they are hugely popular as pets in many countries in Asia and Europe and are sold in markets in many Southeast Asian countries. Traders circumvent their toxic bite by pulling out their teeth with pliers, which result in many lorises dying from infection. Singapore is a known transit destination for slow loris trafficking, and is the most common seized mammal to enter Singapore illegally. There are also some who believe that slow loris seen in Singapore are escapees from the pet trade as well.

Besides their huge popularity as pets, slow lorises also face pressures from logging and slash-and-burn practices in our neighbouring countries, as they are normally asleep during the day, and have a tendency to stay still and cling on to the tree when they are frightened. Also, they are caught and killed for many other reasons, from the absurd (eating them gives one strength) to the even more absurd (eyeballs for love potions).

Not enough is known about their ecology. Slow lorises often die in captivity from intestinal problems, and diabetic problems. Not enough is known about them for zoos even to optimally take care of them.

About Fam Shun Deng

Fam Shun Deng, currently a 4th year Life Sciences undergraduate in NUS is doing field research on Nycticebus coucang (the Greater Slow Loris). He is focussing on the taxonomy and ecology of the slow lorises here. If anyone has sightings no matter they be roadkills or wild or under any other circumstances, they should contact him at 92215549 or u0402422@nus.edu.sg immediately. Any help would be much appreciated as they are probably present at very low densities.

extracted from (http://www.wildsingapore.per.sg/discovery/news.htm) with permission from Shun Deng, of cos ;p

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